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Thread: 6 Step Recovery Plan

  1. #1

    6 Step Recovery Plan

    From Scout.com. (This is free content - I don't get the pay stuff).

    A long read, and the gist of it is that the Steelers need to get more physical on offense, adding a fullback and a couple of stud lineman. The Steelers have some glaring needs, but this makes some sense.

    The past few years, everybody wanted an OT in the draft, but the Steelers picked too late. If they want one, this is probably the year to get one. I'm not sure if Colon can move to guard, but he is a beast in the run game. I'd also love to see the Steelers have an elite type talent at either C or RG. Hartwig and Essex are ok, but nothing more.

    There are a lot of needs on D as well, but if Casey is resigned for a couple of years, I think you can draft OL-OL-S-ILB.

    Scout.com > Pittsburgh
    6-Step Recovery Plan
    Story URL: http://pit.scout.com/2/936874.html
    Jim Wexell
    SteelCityInsider.com Jan 11, 2010

    Well, Tom Brady got it good Sunday, inspiring Jim Wexell to develop his 6-Step Plan for the Steelers' return to prominince in the most physical division in football.

    I’ve been waiting for a day like this one ever since Tom Brady made those snarky comments about Heinz Field following the 2004 AFC Championship Game.

    The Baltimore Ravens put a dagger in the heart of the former Brady-led dynasty Sunday by running wild on the New England Patriots in Foxboro.

    Ray Rice got it rolling with an 83-yard touchdown run up the gut on the first play, and then Pretty Boy fumbled it back to give the Ravens a second touchdown.

    Le’Ron McClain ran for that touchdown behind a formation featuring three tackles, a tight end, a fullback, and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata motioning into the middle of the line. But the Ravens tricked the Pats by giving it to the fullback, McClain, who walked into the end zone. He then did a silly five-second big-man jig before trotting to the sideline with his teammates, who were given more jackets than high fives.

    These Ravens were all business on this day, and for the first time in my life I admired those dirty birds.

    I’m probably not the only one.

    The Ravens were physical and they didn’t mess around. As mentioned, their gadget play was to hand the ball to a fullback instead of Rice, and the fullback trotted in behind a couple of tons of purple haze inducing muscle. They reminded me of what the Steelers used to be, which reminded me of a quote from former Monday Night Football analyst Tony Kornheiser that I used in my last book:

    “People around the country like the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Kornheiser said before a 2007 Monday night thrashing of the Ravens. “They like the fact that they play tough football in a tough city. This is not a New York team, not a Los Angeles team, a Chicago team, a Boston team, no Red Sox Nation situation. This is family owned, tough and durable. They have tradition, stability and continuity. Everywhere you go you find Steeler fans. They travel well. People like them and they believe that this is the kind of city where the right kind of football’s played. I think they’re the one organization in the NFL that just about everybody likes, except maybe people from Cleveland.”

    Ah, the good old days.

    The Steelers, of course, have lost that identity. It began slipping away about the same time ol’ Willie Parker’s wheels fell off in 2007. And that’s about the same time that fullback Dan “Buckethead” Kreider went on injured reserve. Kreider was released sometime in early 2008, or about the same time Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians got out of the co-pilot’s chair and strode across the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and made this declaration of accomplishment:

    “We have no fullback on this roster!” Arians told the cheering throng.

    The throng, of course, was, is, made up mostly of Pittsburgh media, mixed with some young, hip sophisticates from around the country. They, while watching from their daddy’s knee, always wondered why Bill Cowher handed off for three-yard gains when it seemed so much easier to throw for big chunks.

    “Because three things can happen when you throw for chunks,” your dad would always tell you, “and two of them are bad.”

    “Right, ol’ man,” you thought to yourself, “and Woody Hayes is dead.”

    Well, those kids have grown up and are now delirious with the stats Arians is putting up with his modern-era use of Ben Roethlisberger and his pass-game amigos. It worked in 2008 and delivered a Super Bowl, and it will work again, they tell themselves.

    Will it?

    By working the pass game till the carrier deck crumbled, the Steelers have lost something. They of course lost their fullback. They lost their need for explosive linemen. (Heck, even Chris Kemoeatu can’t fire off the ball.) They lost their need to work the run game. And some say that’s caused the defense to grow soft.

    That may play well in the AFC West, where teams travel to sunny and warm climes, or in Indianapolis, where the temperature is always 72 and the noise comes with the dome, but it’s a fact that the AFC North Division is the only division in the NFL without a built-in southern swing or a visit to a dome where big-chunk attacks can thrive.

    No, the Steelers have to win in Cleveland, in Cincinnati, and in Baltimore to really win big, and for years they showed those teams how to go about it.

    Now, those teams are showing the Steelers how to get it back. The Steelers fell so hard for the tasty fruit of Roethlisberger’s playground heroics in 2008 that they’ve scrapped their age-old traditions and are in danger of suffering the kind of beatdowns the defensively soft yet offensively sophisticated Patriots just experienced.

    The Rooneys understand this and they wanted Arians gone. But Tomlin apparently knows no other bright, young coaches in the league. He came to the Steelers as a mere kid with one year experience as a coordinator and hastily put his first staff together. He did not change that staff until this year, and then he only took down the easy ones: the special teams coach and the offensive line coach. Tomlin stood up to the Rooneys – who even let Walt Kiesling call his own shots – and kept the offensive coordinator.

    Of course, we’ve been told that Tomlin had “a long meeting” with his offensive coordinator. Presumably we are to believe that Tomlin once again Laid Down The Law.

    We’ve heard that before. We heard that after Arians called 42 pass plays in 42 m.p.h. wind gusts on a frigid night along the shores of Lake Erie, in a loss Tomlin later blamed on the players’ lack of effort. We’d heard that Tomlin “laid down the law” with Arians after that game. Of course, little changed – little could change – in a 3-game, end-of-season flurry that did little more than keep Arians’ job.

    So what could change now with a long and grouchy off-season to be endured?

    Well, Kevin Colbert and of course Tomlin run the personnel show, and this is what I believe they must do in order to not only prove they Laid Down The Law, but to regain their identity and regain their prominence in the most physical division in football:

    1. Draft an offensive lineman in the first round. Yes, I understand that the secondary is an abomination. It’s in as bad a shape as the O-line was coming into the 2008 draft. But that first round in ’08 left the Steelers only to reach for a would-be lineman, and that’s never part of the plan of a stabile organization. Instead, the Steelers grabbed value with running back Rashard Mendenhall. Well, in 2010, the first round will lack value at cornerback, and a deep safety crop can be addressed in the third and even fourth rounds. No, with the 18th pick it’s time to draft that offensive lineman, a tackle who’ll be the cornerstone of future physical versions, a left tackle who could man the right side if Willie Colon leaves via free agency or is moved inside to guard, a left tackle who already wears the black and gold and looks pretty damn handsome in it, a tackle out of Iowa named Bryan Bulaga.

    2. Draft an offensive lineman in the second round. Of course, we hear so much about the youngsters coming up. But Ramon Foster needs to get in better shape. And Kraig Urbik needs to come off the ball with more gusto. And Doug Legursky – whom the former OL coach believes is the one to watch – isn’t the beast that Maurkice Pouncey is. Do you want to count bodies and finesse a plan that will maximize your ability to draft another defensive back because he can also return some kicks? Or do you want a beast who’s the second building block of a future O-line? I say draft the beastly center from Florida and count the bodies later.

    3. Get a fullback. The maverick OC’s use of tight ends in the backfield is no longer necessary. Thanks, but no thanks, Maverick, because you’re not using this team any longer to show the rest of the league how smart you are. The RB coach wanted McClain back in 2007, but “Tombert” thought it better to draft Dan Sepulveda and Ryan McBean with the Steelers’ picks in the fourth round. McClain, the guy doing the big-man jig in the Patriots’ end zone, on the Patriots' field, the guy headed for the starting backfield in the Pro Bowl, that guy was drafted with the last pick of the fourth round that year. That’s how easy it is to find a great fullback. Don’t mess it up this year.

    4. Move the tight end to tight end. Roethlisberger threw David Johnson a pass in the flat in Cleveland. He dropped it. So I presume the rookie 7th-round pick with the stone hands, who was playing out of position at fullback, did that because he didn’t care? Uh, right. No, move this kid to tight end and at least give the appearance that the guy on the other side of the gritty, gutty pass-catching tight end is at least trying to move someone off the line on a run play.

    5. Work the run game in training camp. I know. The media and the sophisticates believe it’s myth that working the run game in training camp also toughens up the defense. But guess what? It toughens up everyone. It toughens up the coach. It toughens up the coordinators. It toughens up the B.A.-fed media. I’ll bet it’ll even toughen up the kicker, because I swear Jeff Reed used to do a pretty good imitation of a tough guy behind the coverage teams back in the day.

    6. Leave a trail of bloody bodies into the playoffs. Or in other words, work the damn run game in the regular season. Now, I realize this team has some pretty impressive pass-game weapons, but they still have to play physical football. Heck, even Cowher would’ve found a way to sprinkle “chunk plays” in with his three-yards-and-pound-of-spittle calls.

    Gaining a physical presence does not mean the Steelers have to become an awful passing team. This team has the weapons to do great things, but it must regain its core identity. Or at the least get it back from the rivals who’ve stolen it.

    Copyright © 2010 Scout.com and SteelCityInsider.com

  2. #2
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    Re: 6 Step Recovery Plan

    Not happening, but is was a rather nostalgic read about physical offensive linemen, a full back the size fo McClain, use of a gritty tight end to aid the run game and to emphasize the run game in training camp to toughen everyone up. Ah, that was music to my ears, but it isn't happening, at least, not to the extent that the writer would like to have it happen.

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  3. #3
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    Re: 6 Step Recovery Plan

    Decent article except for calling Tomlin a kid. Sounded like he has no respect for Tomlin..

    Anyways.. the guy is on crack.

    I'm sorry but he is.. he talks about winning a SB like it's a preseason game. We are spoiled fans in Steeler Nation. 2 SB rings with Ben and a ton of wins and exciting finishes. In 2009 the DPOTY is out, Aaron Smith is out, and he is crying like a little b!itch.

    The Ravens had 20 points off of TO's... I love how people are acting like the Ravens owned a Pats* team who was hot... I'm glad they won but c'mon.

    You don't tell Ben to hand off all day when he gave us the best 6 years of our lives since the 70's... Ben will do what he wants, when he wants and when he retires we will miss him and beg for his return if we end up with Mark Malone's son at QB.

  4. #4

    Re: 6 Step Recovery Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by feltdizz
    Decent article except for calling Tomlin a kid. Sounded like he has no respect for Tomlin..

    Anyways.. the guy is on crack.

    I'm sorry but he is.. he talks about winning a SB like it's a preseason game. We are spoiled fans in Steeler Nation. 2 SB rings with Ben and a ton of wins and exciting finishes. In 2009 the DPOTY is out, Aaron Smith is out, and he is crying like a little b!itch.

    The Ravens had 20 points off of TO's... I love how people are acting like the Ravens owned a Pats* team who was hot... I'm glad they won but c'mon.

    You don't tell Ben to hand off all day when he gave us the best 6 years of our lives since the 70's... Ben will do what he wants, when he wants and when he retires we will miss him and beg for his return if we end up with Mark Malone's son at QB.
    You mention the Ravens, but what about the Packers and Jets. The Jets are the team the Steelers used to be, built on a power run game and a strong D. They're going to the second round of the playoffs. Imagine that team with the weapons the Steelers have at WR and Ben. They'd be instant favorites.

    Conversely, look at the Packers. They are the NFC clone of the Steelers. Strong tradition, great fans, and now a team that relies on the pass with a QB that holds the ball too long at times while making great plays at other times. They were bounced in the first round.

    Re-emphasizing the power running game doesn't mean that the Steelers need to revert to run-run-pass. They can install a balanced offense. Forcing defenses to focus on the run as well as the pass will only make Ben more effective.

  5. #5
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    Re: 6 Step Recovery Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by phillyesq
    Quote Originally Posted by feltdizz
    Decent article except for calling Tomlin a kid. Sounded like he has no respect for Tomlin..

    Anyways.. the guy is on crack.

    I'm sorry but he is.. he talks about winning a SB like it's a preseason game. We are spoiled fans in Steeler Nation. 2 SB rings with Ben and a ton of wins and exciting finishes. In 2009 the DPOTY is out, Aaron Smith is out, and he is crying like a little b!itch.

    The Ravens had 20 points off of TO's... I love how people are acting like the Ravens owned a Pats* team who was hot... I'm glad they won but c'mon.

    You don't tell Ben to hand off all day when he gave us the best 6 years of our lives since the 70's... Ben will do what he wants, when he wants and when he retires we will miss him and beg for his return if we end up with Mark Malone's son at QB.
    You mention the Ravens, but what about the Packers and Jets. The Jets are the team the Steelers used to be, built on a power run game and a strong D. They're going to the second round of the playoffs. Imagine that team with the weapons the Steelers have at WR and Ben. They'd be instant favorites.

    Conversely, look at the Packers. They are the NFC clone of the Steelers. Strong tradition, great fans, and now a team that relies on the pass with a QB that holds the ball too long at times while making great plays at other times. They were bounced in the first round.

    Re-emphasizing the power running game doesn't mean that the Steelers need to revert to run-run-pass. They can install a balanced offense. Forcing defenses to focus on the run as well as the pass will only make Ben more effective.
    How much do you want to bet the Jets move from that power run philosophy as Sanchez gains experience? I believe things will change if the QB position becomes an area of strength for the Jets.

    The Packers were bounced from the playoffs because they loss the turnover battle and their defense gave up 51 points.

    There are very few teams in the league that can maintain an effective balance between the run and pass. Based on the team's make up they will either lean towards the run or the pass. The Steelers can install a balanced attack. Where do you think they will lean once the run game falters? The run game failed more often then not this season.

    Sometimes teams have to make difficult decisions in the direction they want to head. The Steelers have moved away from a power run game because they have a more lethal options at the QB and WR positions. It may have been evident when they drafted skill position players to build around Ben.

    It is debatable if a run game will make Ben a more effective QB. It will take away opportunities from Ben. If that happens, fans will complain they don't let Ben pass enough. My belief is that whatever the Steelers decided to do, they need to do it well.

  6. #6
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    Re: 6 Step Recovery Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by phillyesq
    Quote Originally Posted by feltdizz
    Decent article except for calling Tomlin a kid. Sounded like he has no respect for Tomlin..

    Anyways.. the guy is on crack.

    I'm sorry but he is.. he talks about winning a SB like it's a preseason game. We are spoiled fans in Steeler Nation. 2 SB rings with Ben and a ton of wins and exciting finishes. In 2009 the DPOTY is out, Aaron Smith is out, and he is crying like a little b!itch.

    The Ravens had 20 points off of TO's... I love how people are acting like the Ravens owned a Pats* team who was hot... I'm glad they won but c'mon.

    You don't tell Ben to hand off all day when he gave us the best 6 years of our lives since the 70's... Ben will do what he wants, when he wants and when he retires we will miss him and beg for his return if we end up with Mark Malone's son at QB.
    You mention the Ravens, but what about the Packers and Jets. The Jets are the team the Steelers used to be, built on a power run game and a strong D. They're going to the second round of the playoffs. Imagine that team with the weapons the Steelers have at WR and Ben. They'd be instant favorites.

    Conversely, look at the Packers. They are the NFC clone of the Steelers. Strong tradition, great fans, and now a team that relies on the pass with a QB that holds the ball too long at times while making great plays at other times. They were bounced in the first round.

    Re-emphasizing the power running game doesn't mean that the Steelers need to revert to run-run-pass. They can install a balanced offense. Forcing defenses to focus on the run as well as the pass will only make Ben more effective.
    I mentioned the Ravens because he was heavy on the Ravens in the column.

    If you watched the Jets this year they actually went from Whiz to BA and back to Whiz regarding the playcalling.

    Sanchez started chucking up INT's like crazy when they were like 6-2 when they let him open up.... then they tighten him up for the playoffs cause he got too confident and showed his rookie stank. Great strategy IMO..

    GB is definitely a clone of us.. the difference is next year we get Troy back... They don't have a Troy.

  7. #7
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    Re: 6 Step Recovery Plan

    ....i'm a proponent of bettering the OL. that said, no way i spend our first 2 picks on one. what about free agency...the problem can be addressed there as well
    if there isn't that value at CB or FS or ILB when we pick...i'd have no problem with that Iowa OT

  8. #8
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    Re: 6 Step Recovery Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by phillyesq
    Quote Originally Posted by feltdizz
    Decent article except for calling Tomlin a kid. Sounded like he has no respect for Tomlin..

    Anyways.. the guy is on crack.

    I'm sorry but he is.. he talks about winning a SB like it's a preseason game. We are spoiled fans in Steeler Nation. 2 SB rings with Ben and a ton of wins and exciting finishes. In 2009 the DPOTY is out, Aaron Smith is out, and he is crying like a little b!itch.

    The Ravens had 20 points off of TO's... I love how people are acting like the Ravens owned a Pats* team who was hot... I'm glad they won but c'mon.

    You don't tell Ben to hand off all day when he gave us the best 6 years of our lives since the 70's... Ben will do what he wants, when he wants and when he retires we will miss him and beg for his return if we end up with Mark Malone's son at QB.
    You mention the Ravens, but what about the Packers and Jets. The Jets are the team the Steelers used to be, built on a power run game and a strong D. They're going to the second round of the playoffs. Imagine that team with the weapons the Steelers have at WR and Ben. They'd be instant favorites.

    Conversely, look at the Packers. They are the NFC clone of the Steelers. Strong tradition, great fans, and now a team that relies on the pass with a QB that holds the ball too long at times while making great plays at other times. They were bounced in the first round.

    Re-emphasizing the power running game doesn't mean that the Steelers need to revert to run-run-pass. They can install a balanced offense. Forcing defenses to focus on the run as well as the pass will only make Ben more effective.
    They are a power running team because they have a QB who cannot be relied upon to win games. They didn't have one either before Sanchez so they had no choice but to stock up in RBs and build a run blocking OL.

    The Rooney's did not pay Ben $102M because he was good at handing off the ball. He got it because he can take the game into his hands and win a game through his own efforts.

    The plays the Jets call are to make sure that Sanchez isn't given a chance to lose the game.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

  9. #9
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    Re: 6 Step Recovery Plan

    Certainly can't argue with upgrading the OL early- 50+ sacks is simply not good enough. Bulaga seems a good player, and if he is #1, so be it.

    Even getting a FB incorporated into the O sounds quite reasonable.

    But improving the OL & adding a FB doesn't mean the Steelers should completely shift the gameplan to becoming a run-first O.

    If the Steelers can re-sign Casey Hampton, that would mean that OL, FS, CB & perhaps even RB would become the Round 1 options. If Hampton isn't re-signed, or the NT position is not secured through FA, then the Steelers would be somewhat foolish to look anywhere else on draft day than NT.
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  10. #10

    Re: 6 Step Recovery Plan

    I agree that we need to play more physical ball. That's why I prefer backs like Mendy and Rice as opposed to Chris Johnson. It's why I believe in building from the trenches out. It's part of the reason I'm not happy with Ariens. It's why I like Ben...big physical QB who is back yard football tough. It's why I believe in playing with a FB. It's why I believe in imposing your will with a ball control offense which sets up the deep ball...and why I believe in a dominant D. We need to get back to Steeler ball. I don't recognize our current team. We are not the Pats, Colts or the Saints.

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